Background Staff responsible for care after death should ‘Record all aspects of care after death in locally relevant documentation and identify the professionals involved.’1 A Trust-wide audit in 2017 showed that documentation of care after death at the trust was poor and only 30% of patients had any documentation of care after death recorded. The care after death checklist was developed and launched as a prompt for staff providing care after death to complete.
Aims To measure and evaluate the correct use of the care after death checklist and to ascertain whether the checklist has effected the documentation of the care provided after death.
Methods A retrospective audit involving review of the clinical notes and the care after death Checklist when completed was performed. Thirty sets of notes, across two hospitals within the trust were reviewed. Patients who died in the first two weeks of April and May 2019 and were over 18 years old were included.
Results The care after death checklist was used in 27 out of the 30 patient notes audited. There was documentation of care after death in 100% of patients using the checklist compared to 67% in the cases without using the checklist. There was superior quality of information documented when the checklist was used compared to when it was not used across multiple domains. For example, in 100% of cases where the checklist was used there was documentation of explanation of the procedure for collecting the death certificate to relatives, compared to 0% when the checklist was not used.
Conclusion The use of a standardised checklist improves the quality and breadth of documentation of care after death provided in a hospital setting.
The Care After Death: Guidance for staff responsible for care after death, 2nd Edition. Published 2015. https://www.hospiceuk.org/what-we-offer/clinical-and-care-support/clinical-resources
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